Parents & Families

What do parents love about Piedmont University?

I love that my daughter has excelled with swim and academics . She has made lifelong friendships. I love the fact that classes are small and she can get more one-on-one time with her professors. Piedmont University has become her home and she loves it there. From the resident advisor to her teammates and Coach Teddy to Bruce Willis, to each person on the third floor of Mystic, it has given her a family away from home.
Tammy Simmons Polk (Tressie's mom)
I love hearing my daughter say she loves school and loves her professors for the first time ever! School has always been challenging for her, and the extra time and attention that Piedmont professors give to their students has made a huge difference for her. I also love hearing her talk about how kind and helpful Ms. Lynn at the Student Success Center and Ms. Melba in the cafeteria are. They have both gotten to know my daughter and have helped her feel at home on campus.
Jen Bucknell (Daisy's Mom)

From One Parent to Another: Three Things That Impressed Me About Piedmont


by Jennifer Williams
(Emma's Mom)

My daughter, Emma, is a rising third-year student. I’d like to share a little bit of her Piedmont story in order to highlight three things that impress me as a parent.

When Emma was looking at colleges, she thought she wanted to major in Elementary Education, and she knew she wanted to play soccer. Piedmont has an excellent reputation for both. Emma made a verbal commitment to play soccer in April 2019 and received her official letter of acceptance a few months later.

A lot had changed by the time she entered in the fall of 2020. While still fully committed to playing soccer, she wasn’t as sure about her chosen major. 

Just a few weeks after arriving on campus, she and Lisa Mann, director of career services, talked about Emma’s strengths and interests and looked over the results of an aptitude test Emma took as part of the SAIL program. Dr. Mann suggested several career paths to consider.

Emma was drawn to Speech-Language Pathology, and as it turned out, Piedmont was just beginning an undergraduate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Armed with information and guidance from career services, Emma switched majors, and her new path has been a great fit.

Piedmont wants your student to succeed and provides resources to help. That is the first thing that impresses me.

Emma’s athletic experience at Piedmont has also been a great fit. Coach Timmy McCormack very obviously wants the team to do well on the pitch and win games — which they do. During Emma’s first season with the Lions, the team won the division tournament title, and during her second, they were regular-season champions. He also cares about their performance in the classroom. He keeps tabs on their grades, and freshmen have mandatory study hall hours. But most of all, he cares about them as people, which helps foster a family environment. The team has fun together on the pitch, on the sidelines, traveling, and in the dorms.

Piedmont athletics lists family, excellence, integrity, and accountability among its core values. It’s a positive culture, and that’s the second thing that impresses me. 

The third thing that impresses me is the academic opportunities outside the classroom.

Piedmont encourages undergraduate research and creative inquiry. Emma is working on a project with the director of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She and Dr. Monica Bellon-Harn are examining inequities clinicians may encounter in the field and developing an online curriculum designed to prepare students for graduate work with a social justice focus. If you’re interested, you can read more about the projects on Piedmont’s website

As part of her research, Emma has had the opportunity to interview and collaborate with faculty at Piedmont and several other colleges. She presented at Piedmont’s Symposium in April. This fall, Emma, along with Dr. Bellon-Harn and student Jaycie Ponce, will present at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in New Orleans. This type of learning experience helps Emma excel in the classroom now, will help her graduate school application be more competitive, and ultimately help her be a better speech-language pathologist.

Your student’s Piedmont story won’t be the same as Emma’s, of course. They may need tutoring or counseling services instead of career advice. Their “team” might be theatre or yearbook or FCA. Their academic path may lead them to study abroad instead of a research project. Encourage them to get involved and to take advantage of services and opportunities available to them here.

Your student will find their fit, and you will be impressed.

Welcome to Piedmont. Go Lions!


We are family here.
You are part of the Pride.

Piedmont University values parents and families and considers you part of the Lion Pride. You play an essential role in the success of your student and strengthen Piedmont as an institution. We are ready to work with you to ensure your student's success.

Piedmont parents and families may sign up for the Family Engagement (FeLine) Newsletter, which features news from around campus. We also encourage parents and families to participate in the Piedmont University Family Council, an organization that offers volunteer opportunities and gives voice to your concerns and ideas.

Parents and families of current students may find the Residence Life pages helpful.

For more information, contact Terrie Ellerbee, or 706-778-8500, ext. 2859.


Financial Aid FAQs

  1. What is Financial Aid? Money to pay for college! It comes in many different forms. There is gift aid, such as scholarships and grants that you don’t have to pay back. There are also loan options available (which you do have to pay back). 
  2. How do I apply for financial aid? Students need to complete a FAFSA each academic year to be evaluated and offered financial aid. The FAFSA can be completed at If you choose not to complete a FAFSA, you will need to complete an Institutional Aid Application. This can be found at
  3. What is the FAFSA? The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, allows our office to evaluate you for federal financial aid, such as the Federal PELL Grant and federal student loans, and state financial aid (if applicable). The FAFSA opens each year on October 1st. Remember, the earlier you complete the FAFSA, the earlier we can offer financial aid! 
  4. What are the federal student loan options? There are two types of federal student loans; the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. The only difference between the loans is that the subsidized loan does not accrue interest while you are enrolled and the unsubsidized loan does accrue interest while you are enrolled. You can view more information about federal student loans at 
  5. What is verification? If you are selected for verification, this is a process where we are required to collect documentation to verify that the information on the FAFSA is correct. Students are selected for verification by the Department of Education. For this process, we will send you an email that includes the information we need to complete verification, such as tax documents or W-2 forms.
  6. What if I have special circumstances? If your financial situation has changed since completing the FAFSA, give us a call or send us an email! We can look at your financial aid to see if we can complete a process called Professional Judgment. During this process, we collect documentation to see if the financial change is great enough to qualify you for more aid. 
  7. What are my other options?
    • Scholarships/Grants: If you need additional assistance, you can look for outside scholarships through community organizations or online resources. We typically recommend students visit and to search for scholarships. There are also scholarships available on the Georgia Department of Labor website.  
    • Parent Plus Loan: For dependent students, your parent has the option to apply for a Federal Parent Plus Loan. This is a federal loan that can be applied for at There is a credit check involved with applying for this loan. If the parent is denied, the student may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loans.
    • Alternative loans: loans that can be applied for through a bank, credit union, or other type of loan lender. You can find more information about alternative loans at
    • Georgia Student Access Loan (SAL): a 1% interest rate loan offered by the state of Georgia. You must complete a FAFSA to qualify. This loan requires monthly Keep In Touch payments (KIT) at $10 per month. To apply, visit


First-Year Success

Does Your Student Know How to Clean a Lint Trap?

Madison Smith

Making the transition from high school senior to college freshman comes with some challenges. We asked Madison Smith, Piedmont University’s director of residential living, to share tips for parents of prospective students who plan to live on campus. 

Her most important tip is to recognize that there will be a new set of expectations in college.

“The time commitments in a university environment are a completely different structure than a high school classroom. Teaching your student about time management and balancing their priorities is crucial,” Smith said. 

Smith also suggests parents have a conversation with their students about sharing a space/having a roommate. Have they had experience with this before?

Also, make sure your student knows how to:

  • Do laundry. (Don’t forget the lint trap!)
  • Operate a microwave.
  • Clean his/her space properly.
  • Take equal responsibility for the condition of his/her room.

“Your student may experience things that are unfamiliar to them in a college environment,” Smith said. “Expressing the importance of communication can make all the difference whether it be academically, socially, or mentally. There are resources on campus that can help your student adjust.”

Residential Life also offers these conversation starters for you and your student as they prepare for college: 

• Registering for classes/registration dates and deadlines. Remind your student to watch for these dates. They tend to come well before a semester ends. For example, registration for the Spring 2022 semester began in October. Registration dates are shared on the Piedmont University app and via newsletters sent to student email addresses. For more information, contact the Office of the Registrar, 706-776-0112 or

• How to get in touch with campus faculty/staff when they need maintenance in their residence hall. Students use the housing portal ERezLife to ask for help with maintenance in their residence hall living space. This is also the portal students use when they turn in housing applications and complete immunization requirements. 

• How to get in touch with campus faculty/staff when they need maintenance in their residence hall. Students use the housing portal ERezLife to sign up for housing. However, Resident Assistants (RA) in the residence halls can help with maintenance requests for their living space or in case of roommate conflicts. Residential Living staff work on forms such as health and safety inspections that occur once a semester within this portal also.

• How to budget their finances to afford books and living essentials.

• How to balance their time between school, work, athletics, and social lives. 

• How to keep track of their meal plan/picking the correct meal plan to fit their needs during the semester.

• How to submit an IT ticket and get help with technical issues. Students may access the help ticket submission on the website.

• Requesting counseling services. Students may request an appointment via a student portal with a member of the counseling staff. 

In addition, here are two of the helpful resources your student will find at Piedmont University:

Learning Center—The Learning Center offers academic support in many areas, including accounting, foreign languages, math, science, and writing. Tutors are selected by department chairs, trained in the art of tutoring, and monitored to provide the individualized attention students need. The center can also help with test-taking, time management, study skills, and note-taking skills.

Student Success Center—Help is available in many areas at Piedmont’s Student Success Center, including:

  • Self-Exploration & Goal Setting
  • Time Management/Organization Assistance
  • Study Skills & Methodologies
  • Campus Resource Referral & Assistance
  • Interest, Major & Career Exploration 
  • Personalized Meetings & Support


Residential Life Offers Tips for Families of Current Students

Once a student has made the transition from high school senior to college freshman and overcomes some of the immediate challenges, others will follow. We asked Madison Smith, Piedmont University’s director of residential living, to share some tips for parents of current students who live on campus. The bottom line: asking for help is always encouraged.

“No matter how much experience a student may have at a university, issues may still arise. Of course, adjustment and problem solving get easier, but stressing the importance of communication can greatly impact a student’s career,” Smith said. “Roommate conflict, academic issues, and mental health issues are common among university students. Resources on campus can help alleviate some of those stressors. It is never a bad idea to ask for help.”

Smith suggests that parents make sure their student knows who they should reach out to when they have issues to address. 

“Parents can help with many issues, like budgeting a student’s time and money, for example, but for others, there is help on campus,” she said.

She offers several examples, including:

• When to register for classes (registration dates and deadlines). Remind your student to watch for these dates. They tend to come well before a semester ends. For example, registration for the Spring 2022 semester began in October. Registration dates are shared on the Piedmont University app and via newsletters sent to student email addresses. For more information, contact the Office of the Registrar, 706-776-0112 or

• How to get in touch with campus faculty/staff when they need maintenance in their residence hall. Students use the housing portal ERezLife to ask for help with maintenance in their residence hall living space. This is also the portal students use when they turn in housing applications and complete immunization requirements. 

• How to budget their finances to afford books and living essentials.

• How to balance their time between school, work, athletics, and social lives. 

• How to keep track of their meal plan/picking the correct meal plan to fit their needs during the semester.

• How to submit an IT ticket and get help with technical issues. Students may access the help ticket submission on the website. Here is the link:

More questions? Visit for more information!


Why choose Piedmont?

Piedmont has the safest campus in Georgia. rates Piedmont University the No. 1 safest campus in Georgia. Nearly three-quarters of our student population lives on campus.

At Piedmont, 96 percent of students receive financial aid.
Accepted students who enroll receive offer letters so you know upfront how to budget. You will find that Piedmont is competitive with the largest public universities in Georgia.

Piedmont feels like coming home.
Our alumni say Piedmont felt like home to them. Piedmont’s beautiful campus is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Northeast Georgia.

Piedmont degrees lead to job opportunities.
Our professors have real-world experience and the right professional relationships to ensure job opportunities after college. Case in point: Piedmont is No. 1 in teacher placements in Georgia

Piedmont will challenge your student.
Did you know Piedmont has ties to Harvard and Yale? Forty-five percent of our incoming 2021 class were in the top 2 academic tiers, with an average GPA of 3.54 and ACT score of 22.9, which places them ahead of 64 percent of their peers academically.

Other Links

Piedmont University Parents & Families Facebook Group
We have avenues for parents and families to talk to each other as well as to the institution. One great resource is our parents and families Facebook group—created just for you.

See your student's achievements on Merit
You can go to Piedmont's Merit page, type in your student's name, and see all of his or her achievements! If you don't see your student at first, try typing in just the last name.

Academic Calendar
The Academic Calendar is a great resource for dates related to registration, academic advisement, final exams, graduation, and holidays.

Northeast Georgia
Surrounded by the natural beauty of Northeast Georgia, our Demorest campus is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our Athens campus is in the Normaltown neighborhood near downtown’s trendy shops, late-night hangouts, and eateries to suit every taste. 

Honey Magee, Piedmont Alumni Association Board Past-President Lisa Black, Jennifer Williams, Lynn Thomas, Monya Smith, and Chase Krokosky.


Helping Your Student Cope with the ‘Second Semester Blues'

Sean Williamson

By Sean Williamson,
Director, Counseling Services
Piedmont University

Many students return to college in January with a sense of dread. The “Second Semester Blues” are a phenomenon that students can experience for many different reasons.

The first semester of school is often exciting and new and can be a transitional time for first-time students — new relationships, new responsibilities, and freedoms. But the second semester can increase tension, homesickness, and exam stress.

Students in a study in England made comments like: “First term is when you meet all these people who you think are going to be your best friends. The second term is when you realize you can’t stand them.” Others stated that the overwhelming feeling is a disappointment, like “I’m here, now what?” Still, other students struggle with the colder weather and darker days. 

If you notice your student struggling — stressing or feeling pressure, questioning their social circle, second-guessing their major, expressing thoughts of quitting or “the grass is greener…” — here are a few things you can do.

Encourage them to get/stay involved. There are so many clubs and organizations for your student to get involved in at Piedmont University. Being connected breeds a sense of community and being a part of something bigger.

Listen. Don’t feel like you must have all the answers. Sometimes just lending your ear or being there for your student is what they are looking for.

Help them to use the second semester as an opportunity to plan. Help them to set goals, use time management, and focus on strategies that could have helped them feel more secure in the first semester. 

Frame the second semester as “a new beginning.” Encourage exploration into new majors or social atmospheres if some element of school didn’t work out well in the Fall. As a parent, this might be beneficial for you as well. You may need to revisit your own expectations for your student’s college experience. 

Talk to your student about their health, especially sleep, diet, and exercise. And, don’t forget financial health. Money can be a huge stressor, so help them stick to a budget. 

Encourage your student not to make any major decisions. Help them to take a step back and get a bigger picture. The blues will eventually pass. 

Finally, encourage your student to talk to a professional if the feelings persist. Piedmont University offers free, professional, confidential counseling services that are available to all students. 

The “Second Semester Blues” may take you and your student by surprise. Talk with them, listen, and encourage them to move forward, get involved, take care of themselves, and seek help if needed. Help them understand that this is a natural part of the college development journey.  

For more information, email Sean at


Mom of Three College Graduates Encourages Parents to Join Family Council

When Garrett Smith walked across the stage on the Piedmont University Demorest campus on May 6, his mother, Monya, saw her youngest son graduate. He did it in four years. The oldest Smith son had done it in five years, the middle one in four and a half. 

Family at graduation
Monya Smith (green blouse) with her family after Commencement ceremonies in May. 

Monya knows the process of getting a child into college, successfully navigating the transition from high school, and keeping a student on track to graduate. 

“Each has done it his own way. I still am somewhat of a helicopter mom, but I also know my kids’ personalities,” Monya said. “I have learned so much more over the years but let them do as much as possible. If they need help, just be there. Be a little nosy but be there.”

As a charter member of Piedmont University’s Family Council, she has shared her knowledge at summer orientation events and offered help and advice to parents and families on freshman move-in day.

Because the council was new in 2020, Monya said she didn’t have preconceived expectations when she joined, but she was ready to help. She liked that the council brought people together for one purpose — student success — and that everyone was pulling in the same direction. 

“It was another way to stay involved and to have your voice heard,” she said. “You have a consensus, people thinking alike and answering questions, so you aren’t bothering the professors every day. You have one central place to go to get information instead of fumbling at it yourself.”

She encourages parents to join the council, if only for one activity. 

“Do something so you can get to know people. Find a way in,” she said. “It is still new and growing, and every day is better.”

She also suggests families follow Piedmont University’s social media accounts. She has found the private Facebook group for families of Piedmont students to be particularly helpful. (To find it, search for Piedmont University Parents & Families on Facebook.) 

“Before you call, before you ask anybody, get on there and scroll back. You can find all kinds of stuff, and if you can’t, just put it out there and someone will answer you,” she said.

She knows one thing for sure: Piedmont was the right school for Garrett.

“He needed a small school that’s tight-knit, where students are there for each other,” she said. “The professors, the smaller class sizes even for his general studies – I don’t think he would have been nearly as successful at a bigger school than he was here.” 

Garrett also picked the right major: Theatre Arts. He had known all along that he wanted to be in theatre. He landed leading roles in play after play at Piedmont, but he competed for every one of them. Nothing was a given. 

Monya said he “might have been a shining star,” but only because his light reflected off other students, and theirs bounced back to him. All of his performances — and they were not all theatre productions — are special memories for her.

“He was required to be in Chorale and [Piedmont] Singers. When he came in from high school, you could hear him over everybody,” she said. “He learned to be a part of that group. I can still pick out his voice, but to hear how he has developed under Dr. Wallace Hinson (music professor Dean of the School of Fine Arts) is phenomenal. He has extra skills now.”

Not all students are so sure about which major to choose, and even Garrett explored a bit before making his final decision. Monya gave her sons time to decide. 

“Let them explore. Let them find out who they are,” she said. “If college is for them, let them figure it out.”

For more information about family involvement, visit To join or learn more about the Family Council, contact Terrie Ellerbee, parent communications specialist,


Chaplain’s Discretionary Fund Can Make All the Difference

The Chaplain’s Discretionary Fund at Piedmont University can bridge a tough spot to help a student attend, stay in school, or graduate. Donations fund 100 percent of its budget. 

The help is “supposed to be a gift from the universe,” said Campus Minister Tim Garvin-Leighton, assistant professor of religion. He administers the fund. No record of recipients is kept, in part because there may be medical issues involved. 

Garvin-Leighton gave a few general examples of how the fund has helped students in the past. 

A graduate student attending the Athens campus was also working, taking care of his grandmother — and living in his car. In that case, the fund paid for a few days in a hotel until more suitable housing could be secured.

Another student was about to graduate when a tornado destroyed her family’s home, leaving no money for the final payment due to Piedmont. The chaplain’s fund was able to help there, too.

It isn’t always something large. In some cases, enough money for a few gallons of gas might make all the difference. 

Students may be caught off guard or find themselves in limbo over fees, textbooks, or unexpected expenses. A student may be expecting a refund from Student Accounts, but a need arises before it hits. 

Students are always grateful.

“Never, not once, has a student acted entitled or deserving,” he said. “Some do pay it back, though there is no expectation of that.”

Recipients often ask who they can thank, but Garvin-Leighton does not always know who the donors are. 

“People who give on a regular basis, they know this is going to help students,” he said. “Many of them might have dropped out if not for the fund. The most important thing is that it changes lives.”

To make a donation by mail, send a check made out to Piedmont University with “Chaplain’s Discretionary Fund” in the memo line to the attention of Garvin-Leighton or University Advancement. For more information, email Garvin-Leighton at


Claire Allinson Wants Everyone to Just Get Out(doors)

Claire Allinson’s unofficial title could be outdoor recreationalist or adventure organizer. She is the face behind

Adventure Trips for Piedmont University students. Upcoming adventures include a ski trip in early February, horseback riding and/or caving in March, and a sunset hike in April.

Her official title is assistant director of student life. Along with creating wellness initiatives and programming and managing the student staff of the fitness center and the rock wall, Allinson is responsible for planning and organizing the Adventure Trips. Her goal is to nudge people out of their comfort zone. 

“My passion is getting people outdoors and showing them, especially students, that just because you’ve never done something before and just because it seems scary — and all these factors are holding you back — you can do it,” she said. “I want to enable students to try new things, learn about themselves, and grow as a person.”

Everyone knows the comfort zone. Fewer know about the panic and growth zones that people fall into when tackling a new challenge, like a ropes course, rappelling, or climbing an indoor rock wall. 

“The panic zone is when you are doing something completely outside of what you’ve ever done, and you’re panicking. It’s not fun and you’re not learning,” Allinson said. “What outdoor professionals are shooting for is that middle zone, which is called the growth zone.”

In the growth zone, people try something completely new to them while feeling safe and supported. 

Allinson came to Piedmont last October to accompany her sister, Caroline, who was visiting campus as she explores options for college. Claire climbed the rock wall in the Commons. She talked to student employees and Vice President of Student Life and Leadership Dr. Kim Crawford. She learned about the job opening and after a little research decided Piedmont was a good fit. She said the visit with her sister “very serendipitous.”

She hopes to offer belay certification with training on the rock wall at Piedmont. To climb “on belay” in the most basic terms means to support a climber in case of a misstep, which happens to be the perfect metaphor for getting students safely out of their comfort zone.

Allinson had to learn how to put herself in the growth zone before she could help others. She achieved Level 2 certification through the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) while she was a student worker at the University of North Georgia. She graduated in 2020 with degrees in math and accounting.

“I learned so much getting those degrees; not only about the subjects but just the hardy determination of getting through my classes, especially because I was in the honors program,” she said. “In the future I might settle down and work in accounting, but for now, I just love being outdoors and getting other people outdoors.” 

Opportunities for Adventure Trips may be found on event calendars that are posted around campus as well as on the Piedmont student app. For more information, email Allinson at


Keyla Stephens

Counselor Keyla Stephens on Anxiety and Virtual Care

Anxiety is the No. 1 issue students talk about with counselors at Piedmont University. 

When students come to Licensed Professional Counselor Keyla Stephens with anxiety, she always asks some basic questions: “Are you eating regularly?” “Are you getting enough sleep?” Self-care is vital.

“Sleep is a big one,” she said. “Without proper sleep, your body feels run down. You can’t think clearly, or problem-solve. Feeling highly anxious and forgetting to eat or drink anything can drop your blood sugar — as well as affect your blood pressure — and those symptoms can mimic an anxiety attack.”

Students must learn to be responsible for their well-being, including their mental and emotional health. Stephens suggests parents check in with students and listen to their concerns without trying to “fix” their problems.

“You were at home with your parents, and you knew that it would be OK, because they would take care of it,” she said. “Now, you’re on your own and you have to figure it out, so you need different coping strategies. Anytime there is an adjustment, it can bring up all kinds of different emotions. Sometimes students are not equipped to handle them because they’ve not had to before.”

Counselors will not suggest dropping a class or sport or quitting a job but will instead encourage students to focus on finding balance.

“If you’re just pushing yourself hard to do things but you’re never taking any time just to relax and restore that energy, then you’re going to burn out,” Stephens said. 

Virtual Care Available to All Students

Students should not wait until there is a crisis to seek help. Stephens said that is where virtual care can be helpful. Students may still see a counselor in person, but the virtual care is a 24-hour/seven-days-a-week option and a free service for Piedmont students. 

“It is a good resource. It’s good for them to go ahead and utilize it because even if they just talk to a person, a counselor there one time, it will kind of familiarize them with the process,” Stephens said. “It adds an extra layer of support.”

Students may talk to doctors and therapists and get on-demand crisis counseling through The Virtual Care Group. Once they register, there are several topics students may speak with board-certified doctors or licensed counselors about, including anxiety, bipolar disorders, depression, grief & loss, panic disorders, relationships, stress, and trauma & PTSD, as well as common physical ailments like ear or sinus infections and allergies. 

Those concerned about privacy should know that students may ask counselors to reserve a room designated for virtual counseling or talk to their resident advisors about securing a private location.

Nearly 190 Piedmont students have registered for The Virtual Care Group’s services. 

Students must learn to distinguish whether an issue is one they need help with or one they can handle on their own. It is all part of becoming an adult. 

“Encourage them to seek out whatever support they can, whether it’s talking to their coach or talking to faculty or coming to counseling,” Stephens said. “Be patient with them and help them tap into their own resiliency.” 

Sara McKellar

A Senior Shares Tips for Finals

By Sara McKellar ’22
Senior Marketing, Management Double Major

Understand that self-improvement, achievement, and actualization, should not come enrobed in self-destruction. Allow yourself the room and preparation to succeed.

Here are some tips as students prepare for finals week:

  • Get that good night’s rest before the exam. Do not plan to cram. You’ll find that brief, refreshing morning reviews are more effective than inundating yourself with information last minute. Plan your night and morning accordingly.
  • Sometimes “good enough” is enough. Sometimes your “best” isn’t the same as someone else’s. A low grade isn’t the end of the world if you do better the next time—even if by a point. Just try not to fail, though. That’d be a waste of money and classes are expensive to retake.
  • Be self-aware enough to recognize when you are unprepared or need help with a subject. Do not wait until the final to think about tutoring, studying, finally reading the assignments. Its advantageous to you to know your capabilities and limitations in advance to those things being tested.
  • Trust your gut—you’re more likely to change your answer to something wrong if you spend too much time overthinking your answer. Sometimes what appears simple truly is that simple.
  • Raise your hand in class and ask questions. This isn’t high school. It’s not embarrassing that you don’t know or understand something. Everyone is in the same boat and chances are, if you have a question, there’s someone else in your class who is on the same page. 
  • Don’t rely on score curves. 
  • Do. Not. Cheat. EVER. You will be ignorant of class material as a result and be unable to apply said material in the real world. Don’t do it. Your future supervisor will thank you.


Freaked Out About Finals: Helping Your Student Cope with Stress

Finals are rarely fun. Students begin worrying about them well beforehand. Grades are at stake and, depending on the course or student, there may be little room for error.

Piedmont University’s Licensed Professional Counselor Keyla Stephens said parents can help students through the toughest days of the semester by understanding what test anxiety and stress do to the body. It releases cortisol, a steroid hormone known as the body’s “internal alarm system.”

“It is one of the ways our bodies help us cope with physically or emotionally difficult situations. Cortisol causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and thus, boosts energy so we can handle stress,” she said.

That comes in handy if we are in danger or the stressor is an upcoming performance or competition.

“However, being in this state at a constant level can derail our body’s functioning. When cortisol levels are elevated for too long without returning to baseline, cognitive processes are impacted and physical and emotional well-being suffers,” Stephens said.

That could mean trouble with memory, thinking clearly, and decision making, all essential to performing well on tests.

Students should not skimp on exercise and sleep because both can support healthier responses to stress.

“There are things we can do to help stay within our own ‘window of tolerance’ and handle stress effectively, even during times of additional stress such as final exams,” Stephens said.

Here are five tips for handling test anxiety to share with students:

  1. Evaluate whether to stay up late studying by how much sleep you have been getting. (Study results showed that students performed, on average, four points higher on final exams than those who did not sleep at least eight hours per night)
  2. Eat well. It can be tempting to skip meals and grab snacks; however, this can lower energy and interfere with concentration.
  3. Pick a physical activity that you enjoy and aim for 20 minutes a day. Exercise can help reduce stress and improve memory and sleep.
  4. Organize your work and create a study schedule. Write down tasks and prioritize time for each. Simplify studying into manageable parts and incorporate breaks.
  5. Find time for yourself. Whether connecting with others, relaxing, or just unplugging for a few moments, take time to recharge in whatever way works for you.

“In the big picture, your mental health is more important than a grade,” Stephens said.


Piedmont Junior Madison Wright an Artist of the Month at Gallery

Madison Wright

Bleu Gallery honored Piedmont University junior Madison Wright as Artist of the Month in January. The gallery in Dahlonega, a town 45 minutes from Piedmont’s Demorest campus, features primarily Georgia artists.
Wright knew even as a toddler drawing “on the walls all over my house” that she wanted to be an artist. As a teenager, she gave engineering a try but came back to her first love. 

“To feel fulfilled in life, I must follow what I am passionate about,” she said.

Piedmont entered Wright’s radar when she was researching Georgia colleges with strong art programs. Piedmont made the list. While still in high school, she stayed on campus overnight (pre-COVID) for an admissions event — the Fine Arts College Experience (FACE) — and learned what it would be like to study art at Piedmont. 

“What piqued my interest the most was seeing the beautiful art building and its facilities,” she said. “My ultimate deciding factor to go to Piedmont was attending the FACE program and meeting the current art students and professors.”

“I loved seeing the one-on-one connection with the professors and the community of students, which I felt would benefit my academic goals,” Wright said.

At Piedmont, she has learned new techniques such as printmaking, and said she has “developed a more robust voice as an artist,” she said. Her art is inspired by nature. New ideas and perspectives from professors who teach subjects outside of the fine arts program, including English, are also incorporated into her work. 

Wright will graduate in 2023. She feels like she just got here.

“But I look back and see how much I have grown as an artist. I will leave Piedmont University to pursue a career as a studio artist, sharing my work with the masses,” she said. “I look forward to the journey ahead of me, and I am proud to become the artist that the younger me only dreamed of.”

View a video of Wright at Bleu Gallery talking about her work at

To learn more about the fine arts at Piedmont University, visit

Here at Piedmont University, we offer an education that is personal in its approach, passionate in its application, and practical in its impact. That’s the Piedmont Promise!

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Terrie Ellerbee
Specialist, Admissions and Parent Communications
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